Thursday, August 2, 2012

At the Movies – August 2012 – Part 3: Most Anticipated Films

Must See of the Month:

Lawless (John Hillcoat) – Crime Drama – Aug 29
Summary: The Bondurants are a Depression-era bootlegging family in Franklin County, Virginia. Things are going well for them in their small town until the authorities threaten them, demanding a cut of their profits. The Bondurants must decide: pay or start a war. Filmmakers: Director John Hillcoat’s last two films (The Proposition and The Road) have presented the world in a very bleak dilapidated way. His visual style should lend itself very well to this gangster western. Plus, he is working again with screenwriter Nick Cave (who is also co-scoring the film), the team that produced one of the better westerns of the last decade. Hillcoat also is working again with past collaborators composer Warren Ellis (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), cinematographer Benoit Delhomme (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) and production designer Chris Kennedy. Cast: The film has a fantastic cast with Tom Hardy, Shia LeBeouf and Jason Clarke as the Bondurant brothers. Gary Oldman, Guy Pierce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Dane DeHaan, Noah Taylor, and Lew Temple feature in support. Expectations: Lawless is easily the film I am most interested in seeing this August. It has maybe the second best cast of any film this year so far (after The Dark Knight Rises), and happens to straddle the line between two of my favorite genres – gangster films and westerns (sort of reminding me of Last Man Standing in that way), both of which are rapidly disappearing from modern cinema (especially westerns). My one holdup is that Hillcoat has not really cemented himself as a great director. Yes, his visual style is brilliant and works well with the material he picks, but his ability to craft a compelling narrative structure is not quite good enough yet. The Road especially greatly suffered from a narrative that both dragged and did not seem to embody the emotional weight that the characters and scenario would suggest it should. That said, from what I have seen of Lawless, it looks like it is going to be very good with great action set pieces. Fans of gangster films and westerns should definitely check this one out. Trailer: HereReview: Here.

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